The scientific staff of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology conducts research that advances the understanding of species, habitats, and ecological processes critical for effective restoration projects. Habitats throughout the tri-state New York metropolitan region and around the world are the focus of our work.
A number of in-depth investigations at both Rutgers University and Brooklyn Botanic Garden are under way on industrial sites, Superfund sites, U.S. Department of Energy lands, urban forest fragments, wetlands, and tidal areas. For example, the impact of invasive plants on National Park Service land in New Jersey is being studied, and landscape-scale restoration research at Hackensack Meadowlands is being done in partnership with a state agency and a nonprofit organization. Research on transforming waste sites such as landfills into biodiverse and productive habitats is being sponsored by federal and municipal agencies. General support for this research comes from such public agencies as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Park Service, as well as private foundations and individual benefactors.
Urban habitats often harbor a surprising amount of biodiversity. An understanding of this living resource serves as a critical foundation for restoration efforts. To this end, researchers at Brooklyn Botanic Garden are compiling a comprehensive inventory of the present and historic distribution of plant species of counties within a 50-mile radius of Manhattan. More than 150,000 plant records have already been entered, telling us a great deal about the effects of urbanization on biota and ecological processes; such data are essential for new progress in ecology and a firm footing for public environmental policy.